Joe Biden loses patience with Vladimir Putin – major retaliatory move expected today

Vladimir Putin: Navalny gives insight into 'Putin's Palace'

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The US President is expected to punish Russia over the poisoning of Mr Putin’s rival Alexei Navalny, according to sources in Washington. The Russian opposition leader fell ill on board a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20, 2020.

Two days later he was transferred to a hospital in Berlin for life-saving treatment and doctors concluded he had been poisoned with a nerve agent.

The Kremlin has always denied any involvement in the incident.

Mr Biden is understood to be considering signing at least two executive orders against Russia.

Sources close to the Biden-administration said this would enable the US to freeze the assets of Russian officials and associated firms.

The Kremlin has warned the US any sanctions will only serve to worsen already strained relations.

The US is also understood to be working closely with allies in Europe, including the European Union.

Last week, EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on four senior Russian officials close to Mr Putin after Mr Navalny was sent to jail.

Brussels is expected to formally approve those measures later this month.

Mr Navalny arrived back in Russia in January after five months recovering in Germany.

He was immediately detained by Russian authorities as he landed at a Moscow airport on January 17.

Mr Navalny has since been sentenced to more than two-and-a-half years in jail for parole violations.

Last month, President Biden described the prison sentence handed to Mr Navalny as “politically motivated”.

In his first speech to the state department, the US President said he told Mr Putin he would take a tougher stance on Russia than Donald Trump.

Mr Biden cited alleged cyber-attacks and Russian aggression on US democracy, something Moscow has denied.

Mr Biden said: “I made it clear to President Putin in a manner very different from my predecessor that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions – interfering with our elections, cyber-attacks, poisoning its citizens – are over.

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“We will not hesitate to the raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interest and our people.”

The US commander-in-chief claimed Mr Navalny had been “targeted” for exposing corruption and should be “released immediately and without condition”.

Mr Biden added: “The politically motivated jailing of Alexei Navalny and the Russian efforts to suppress freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are a matter of deep concern to us and the international community.”

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